Forget most of what you know about Cinderella if you are heading to see Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella on March 2 at Bell Auditorium.
Yes, there’s a mean stepmother and some mean stepsisters. Well, one of them is, anyway, and the other has eyes for a poor young revolutionary named Jean-Michele.
“This version is definitely updated,” said Chris Woods, the actor who plays Jean-Michele, in this version that was written in 2013. “It has more contemporary references.”
Sure, some plot elements are the same. There’s Cinderella who is beautiful on the outside as well as on the inside. There’s a ball, a glass slipper and a pumpkin, but there’s more to it than that.
“The Prince always falls for Cinderella, but in this version, it’s because of her kindness, not her outward beauty,” he said. “Being helpful and kind is a powerful message in this production.”
Jean-Michele is concerned with the plight of the poor and hungry in the kingdom. He wants to start a soup kitchen, and he’s trying to make the Prince see what is going on in the land. And that’s something that Woods likes about his character. He also likes the fact that since the character is new, he can bring his own take on the role without the expectations of audience members.
Woods said he thinks audience members like the updated version of the familiar tale.
“It’s a wonderful show, and it really empowers young girls and young boys,” he said.
While Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote many famous stage musicals, such as Oklahoma, South Pacific and The King and I, which were later translated into film, their version of Cinderella didn’t make its debut on stage. It was first aired for a television audience on March 31, 1957, with Julie Andrews as Cinderella. It was remade for television in 1997 starring Whitney Houston and Brandy.
A stage version was performed in London in 1958 and an opera version was performed in New York in 1993, 1995 and 2004. But Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella was not performed on Broadway until 2013, according to the show’s official website, cinderellaonbroadway.com.
The musical features the songs Ten Minutes Ago, In My Own Little Corner and Impossible/It’s Possible.
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 2, at Bell Auditorium. Tickets range from $60 to $81.
For ticket information, visit www.augustaentertainmentcomplex.com.